Total Company Integration

Total Company Integration: How the application of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and Bartenieff Fundamentals (BF) to dance company management might inform organizational communication and community building.

This ongoing research explores the organizational structures of not-for-profit dance companies through the lens of Laban Bartenieff Movement Studies. 

Like all arts industries the dance field is a rapidly changing environment that no longer obeys the assumed rules that arts managers of the past have followed. This dynamic, shifting landscape requires a complementary shift in organizational priorities and strategy from professionals in the field. However, the retooling of any industry is a task of great magnitude. Because of this, and due to the sheer number and variety of disciplines within the dance field, this paper will focus primarily on professional contemporary ballet companies.

The central purpose of this paper is to explore the potential for the application of a movement theory, specifically Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and Bartenieff Fundamentals (BF), as an analytical framework for the operations of such a dance company. BF are a subset of LMA, which is the most comprehensive system for describing and analyzing movement currently existing.

The breadth of theoretical concepts this paper covers is extensive. The topic is probably too much to explore in depth within a brief work. Additional inquiry and analysis will be needed to both gauge the appropriateness of LMA/BF’ application to the field of dance management and the extent of its viability and usefulness.

I have chosen to explore one small corner of the larger system of Laban Movement Analysis. But the entire system is potentially ripe with application to dance company management.

Utilizing two case studies, Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, I highlight those principles of LMA/BF employed by TMP and Cedar Lake in their management operation, albeit unintentionally. Using Bartenieff’s developmental patterns I then analyze the strategies and programming of those operations. Finally, a model for “total company integration” is presented which any dance company might adopt to improve overall company management.

Far from a ‘silver bullet’ for quick success the aim of this paper is to identify how dance companies are inherently organized as movement entities. Once these organizations are understood in this way it is both easier to manage them and for them to engage with external communities.